Byron: Parents are to Blame for Underage Gaming
The professor in charge of The Byron Review, a report on the use of the internet and video games by children, has commented on the role of parents in gaming regulation.
I wrote a couple of stories about this yesterday, and this seemed like a nice way to wrap things up. Sure, most of us completely ignore the PEGI ratings given on the front of game cases and, if you believe a certain individual from Australia, we're all playing rape sims all day, but as adults we can make the choice to play what we'd like, regardless of what others think is suitable. Children are in a bit more of a bind, relying on their parents to pick and choose appropriate content for them. Sometimes those parents do a good job; sometimes their efforts are not so good.
But sometimes those in the latter group decide, usually upon walking in on a cutscene, that there's content in an adult game not suitable for children and that developers aren't doing enough to look after their children. In an interview with the Metro, Professor Tanya Byron, author of the Byron Report, discussed the role of the industry in your child's education.
"The industry has always been very clear with me, in a very genuine way, that adult content is created for adults - it's not created for kids.
"And actually what people get hot under the collar about are the five per cent of games that are talked about endlessly and not the 95 per cent of games that are out there, that are amazing for children from an educational point of view and also for families. Families used to play board games together, but I really strongly want to encourage parents to game with their kids. I game with my kids and it's a really fun thing to do.
"There's complaints about the inactivity, but now we've got fantastic games that involve movement, there's a lot of evidence I've got from my report and also from charities such as the National Autistic Society, where we know that children with specific learning difficulties or neuro-developmental problems like autism the gaming world has transformed their lives in really positive ways.
"This has never been about putting the blame on the gaming industry," she said, probably to the sound of head-slapping from bad parents everywhere. "It's actually, I think, to have a very simple, streamlined system which the games industry is working really clearly with to make happen and being really responsible about letting people understand the content they're making and who it's for. But the gaming industry is fully supporting and enabling parents to get access to information wherever they can about these issues so fundamentally then it is all about the parents.
"And I completely agree with you: we cannot subcontract responsibility for how children play games to the industry, but I think now the industry has got a much clearer system what we see is an industry that's being absolutely transparent about what they're producing and how parents should be thinking about it when their kids are playing. And now it's fundamentally about educating and empowering parents because that's where the regulation really lies when it comes to children and gaming."